If you were watching the first round of the Hero World Challenge on Thursday, you may have seen Zach Johnson rubbing the grass near his ball on the 18th hole. And you probably thought he was breaking one of the Rules of Golf. But you would be mistaken.
You see, Johnson missed the green at the home hole at Albany in the Bahamas with his second shot. Facing a chip shot as the up part of a closing up-and-down, Johnson chose to rub the grass near his ball to get a sense of the grain in the grass. Under the Rules of Golf, that’s termed as testing the surface. However, most golfers think that’s not allowed anywhere on the course. As the rules read, it is actually permissible through the green — meaning, everywhere on the course but the green, the teeing ground or in a hazard.
Johnson told Golf Channel that it’s not only something he does regularly to get additional information about his lies around the course, but that he is called out on by players or rules hawks a few times each year.
Whether or not the grass brushing helped him is unclear, but Johnson did manage to get up-and-down for par, polish off a 6-under 66 and grab a share of the Day 1 lead.